Oslo to Fagernes:
Camping around Oslo Fjord was a good experience despite the unseasonably cold weather, the thermostat would seldom go above 60 F, even during the day. Next I was headed towards Bergen, passing through the beautiful Valdres region. The drive from Oslo was very scenic, although it was drizzling I enjoyed the drive, stopping by a roadside cafe from some good coffee and pastries. The plan was to camp overnight at Strandheim Hyttetun a campsite near the town of Fargenes. It was around a 5 hour drive, and by the time I got to the campsite the rain was coming down pretty hard. The manager was a very nice fellow, he suggested that I forgo camping and rent out a cabin as it was supposed to get very windy along with the rain. This seemed to be a reasonable suggestion but the cabins were for 4-6 people, he was kind enough to rent one out to me for half the price. After resting a little I headed to a nearby supermarket to stock up on some supplies and grabbed some late lunch. Back at the campsite I watched a world cup soccer match in the common room with a bunch of guys, made myself some dinner and called it a day.
Fagarnes to Bergen:
The next morning, the weather had cleared up and I had a very pleasant drive towards Bergen. Something to remember about Norway is that the highways are not the wide interstates as in the US, and the speed limit on many of the highways is 55 mph, which is rather strictly enforced by cameras. Combine that with sometime nearly empty roads one has to try hard to maintain the speed limit. The drive took me through the Laerdal Tunnel which at 24 km is the longest tunnel in the world. To break the monotony and keep drivers attentive there are there rest areas after every 8 km which are beautifully lit. Made it to the Bergen Camping Park in good time and set up my tent. The park was large and had spots for pitching tents, RV parking and also some cabins. Turned out that many people were staying somewhat long term here while they worked in Bergen, met a couple of guys from Albania, they invited me over for a barbque, and had a nice long talk with them over several cans of Carlsburg. The next morning I woke up early and headed to Bergen to explore the city.
The city was established around 1000 AD and was an important part of the Hanseatic League. Since I just had one day to explore the place I decided on roaming around Bryggen, the historic wharf area of the city. From the Bergenhaus Fortress to the buildings from the Hanseatic era to the old fish market, there is lots to take in and explore here. Moreover just wandering through the residential neighborhoods on the surrounding hills is a lot of fun, although the steep roads make it a bit of a challenge. I stopped by the Aura Cafe in Bryggen for some lunch, I got talking with the manager, turns out she was a big fan of a Pakistani folk singer Abida Parveen! and was tickled to know that I was Pakistan, talk about a small world, had a very nice time chatting with her. I wish I had more time to explore the city, its just the right combination of the modern and the historic.
Bergen to Sogndol:
The next morning I was back on the road, travelling through the fjords. As I have mentioned, Norway is very scenic, but this part of Norway takes the cake. I had decided to camp in Sogndol, to get there from Bergen one has to cross Sognefjord which is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord.
To cross the fjord I had to take the the Malheller-Fodnes ferry, it was a short but refreshing ferry ride. I made it to the Kjornes campground early afternoon and set up my tent. Had plenty of time to go on a little hike in the area, came back, made myself some dinner and had a long leisurely meal before turning in.
Sogndol to Trondheim:
The last stop in Norway was the city of Trondheim. Being a big fan of the “Icelandic Sagas”, I was very familiar with the name, now was a chance to explore the city. The route itself was picturesque and the highway goes through the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjord National park. This is a pristine conservation area and a wildlife refuge.
The drive was longish, but the views made it seem much shorter, I got to Trondheim early afternoon. After a few days of camping in rather cold temperatures, I wanted to be more comfortable, and had booked a room at the Singsaker Sommerhotell, the place came highly recommended and I wasn’t disappointed. After checking in, I went out exploring the town. I went to the University first, and then headed towards the Market Square, when on the way I ran into a couple of Mormon missionaries. As usual they were extremely polite guys and it was hard to refuse listening to their spiel, we chatted for a bit before parting ways.
I had a nice dinner at a restaurant in the market area, the waitress suggested poached cod as being a specialty of her hometown (which may or may not be true), but it was pretty good. After another little stroll around town and I headed back to the hotel. This was my last stop in Norway as the following morning I was going to drive back to Sweden on my way to Lapland. Since I was in the area, it would have been a shame to leave without visiting the Kraistiansen Fort. The next morning I headed out, visiting the fort before hitting the highway. This medieval fort sits atop a hill guarding the city, it was a nice informative visit, and a fitting end to my journeys through Norway as I bid farewell to this beautiful land…hasta luego!!!
Next up…Lapland and the midnight sun